Lazy Summer Dinner Ideas: Because It’s Too Hot to Cook a Real “Meal”

Ever wonder “what the fuck should I make for dinner??” It’s summertime and the living’s lazy. IDK what it is…the heat? The long days? But I ABSOLUTELY do not want to cook when it’s hot – we live in Southern California so you know these summer days are long and also like a million degrees outside.

The oven stays off. The ice cream pops are stocked, and all the back and forth from the pool/summer camps/activities – in and out of hot cars/cool cars hot outside/cool inside makes me crave easy, breezy, beautiful summer meals that are quick, light, and lazy AF. Because I cannot be bothered to do more than open up a can of beans and a bottle of white wine.

That’s why these are some of the easiest summer dinner ideas you’ll find for when it’s just too hot to cook.

I want this to be simple. I want these to be healthy summer dinner ideas too. I want it to be as fun and as active as your summer days are. If you’re working, and it’s a bajillion degrees outside, even better. You can hopefully enjoy a light and easy dinner thrown together at the end of a long day and chill with your kids or your friends/family while it all comes together faster than ordering Door Dash.

Some of the links below contain affiliate linking, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Where to Store These Lazy Summer Recipes

Let’s talk for a second about how I keep organized when it comes to meal planning and prep. It’s this little app called Trello. I organize all the content for my blog with Trello, and my team and I communicate about all our projects through trello. It’s like a color-coded (or not – if you hate colors;)) bulletin board for the visually organized person.

Tracking my favorite dishes, and keeping them organized via my meal planner template is literally the only thing keeping me cool in these temps.

I can easily store a favorite recipe on my trello board, pull it up when I’m in the grocery store, or throw it together at the last second.

No more hunting around for where did I put that piece of paper with that recipe on it!?

You can read more about my Lazy Bitch Meal Planner here.

Or you can download my editable meal planner template here.

Weekly Meal Planner | What The Fuck Are We Eating Meal Planner


Let’s get to the summer recipes for what to eat when it’s too hot to cook that you’ve been waiting for. Because that’s why you’re here right?

Snack Dinner Ideas for When it’s too Hot to Cook

There are a few tried and true dinners in my house:

Pizza night (duh) and breakfast for dinner.

But coming in as a close third (and a top choice in the summer dinner category) is the snack dinner.

The thing I love the most about a snack dinner night is that I can literally put anything out as a “snack” with some toothpicks and a charcuterie board.

Or a divided serving plate.

Chicken nuggets and sliced apples and yogurt pouches? On the platter.

Pirates booty, blueberries, some cheese and crackers, and salami? Lazy Summer Dinner is served, my friend.

The options are endless. I also love to do a “clean out your fridge” snack dinner that is basically a platter of leftovers that everyone pics at.

If you’re looking for a more formal lazy summer dinner idea, here we go let’s get into this.

What You Need for Meals When it’s Too Hot To Cook

Go to ingredients to have on hand for recipes for when it’s too hot to cook:

  • Canned Beans/veggies
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Pre-Chopped veggies or fruit (or spend some time on the weekend/during the week chopping up your veggies/fruit in advance)
  • Pastas do really well cold or hot during the summer – and if you can stick to a one-pot meal even better. Many of the lazy summer dinner ideas below fit this description
  • An air fryer and/or Insta pot – so you don’t have to use the stove/oven and further add to the rising temp in your house.

I recommend this Air Fryer:

COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT Max Xl Large Cooker (Cookbook with 100 Recipes), One-Touch Screen with 11 Precise Presets and Shake Reminder, Nonstick and Dishwasher-Safe Square Design Basket, Black

And this Instant Pot:

Be sure to also check out my post of Instant Pot Chicken recipes and Air fryer recipes for more ideas.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, 6 Quart, Stainless Steel/Black

Double Insight – FOB CNBIJ

For the below list of lazy summer dinner meals I tried to organize it by type of food i.e.

Salads, Grilled Dishes, Sandwiches, Pasta dishes, and a few desserts.

Be sure to save this post and come back time and again to try out different ones. And also check out my meal planner template for more.

Lazy Summer Salads

Salads are a great way to enjoy fresh and delicious food, without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In this roundup, we’ve gathered some of our favorite easy summer salads that will help you make the most of this warm weather season.

Pearl Couscous Mediterranean Salad

The “Pearl Couscous Mediterranean Salad with Dried Cranberries” is a family favorite that you will love. Once you try this salad, it’ll become your new go-to for lunch or even just as an easy light dinner!

Easy Caprese Salad

This Easy Caprese Salad is always one of our go-to salads when craving something fresh, flavorful and light. This simple dish makes an elegant appetizer with its layers: tomatoes on top; mozzarella cheese in the middle layer followed by another sheet containing basil leaves that has been drizzled lightly with olive oil (you could also use pesto). 

Easy Mediterranean Salad

This refreshing tomato cucumber salad is a great summer dish that comes together quickly. It’s the perfect lunch for when you’re in too much of a hurry to cook!

Simply toss it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then devour it while it lasts.

Easy Salad Kabobs

These salad kabobs are easy to make and will be a hit at your next dinner party or holiday event. They only require some ingredients you likely have on hand, so they’re simple enough for even kids’ hands!

Easy Summer Green Salad

This easy summer green salad is a must-try! It’s full of fresh produce and can be thrown together in no time.

Crunchy Rainbow Salad

Simple to make but full of vibrant colors and great flavor, this salad which is perfect for a picnic or barbeque.

Easy Cold Italian Salad

The tortellini in this recipe is the star of an itty bitty pasta salad that’s bursting with Italian flavor! It’s loaded up on top-quality ingredients like pepperoni, Monterey Jack cheese and black olives for a hearty & delicious meal.

Chipotle Chicken Salad  

Forget every boring chicken salad you’ve ever eaten because this Chipotle Chicken Salad sets the flavor bar, bringing bold flavors thanks to Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo.

Watermelon Feta Salad

Refreshing watermelon balsamic salad with feta, basil, and mint, this is the perfect summer salad. An aromatic side dish for any kind of bbq meats or a light and delicious light meal on its own.

Kale Citrus Salad

Kale salad with fennel, parsley, and mozzarella cheese is tossed in an easy-to-make citrusy homemade dressing. This healthy lunch or light dinner recipe comes together quickly for those busy days!

Lazy Summer Grilled Dishes

There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill and cooking up a delicious meal on a warm summer day. Grilling is a great way to enjoy fresh, seasonal produce while taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Plus, not only is it a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, but it can also be a great summer bucket list ideas for kids to try and get into different or healthier food!

Cilantro Lime Grilled Salmon

Cilantro Lime Grilled Salmon in Foil is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy salmon. This dish will be sure to make your taste buds happy! Topped with fresh cilantro leaves as well as garlic cloves that have been gently fried until they’re golden brown – it doesn’t get much better than that for dinner tonight.

Easy Grilled Chicken Salad

While technically a salad I chose to categorize this as a grilled dish because of the delicious chicken involved.

Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki bowl

The island flair is in full swing with this Grilled Pineapple Teriyaki Bowl. Just grill up the tofu, pineapple and red onion to smoky perfection before drenching it all over again for an extra sweet taste! Serve over rice topped off by your favorite ingredients so you can enjoy every bite without regretting any leftovers later on down the line.

Also, this specific one is definitely for picky eaters! It tastes good enough that picky kids would most likely still partake or even finish the meal. That said, especially with picky toddlers, it’s good to always have easy family dinner ideas on hand.

Blackened Mahi-Mahi

Looking for an easy but flavorful way to cook your next dinner? This Blackened Mahi-Mahi recipe teaches you how to make the perfect spice blend and fry it up so all that delicious, crispy outer layer is revealed!

Lazy Summer Sandwiches

Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? Sandwiches are the perfect meal for until! Grillsummertime, because they’re easy to make and they’re delicious! Plus, you can customize them to your liking, so there’s something for everyone. Great for picnics or lazy days at the beach here are some easy thrown together sandwiches the whole family will love.

No-Cook Buffalo Pulled Chicken Sandwich

What’s not to love about a quick and easy dinner that requires no actual cooking? This No-Cook Buffalo Pulled Chicken Sandwich with Caraway Coleslaw is perfect for those busy nights when you’re looking forward to the end of your day. WW friendly and super fast.

Zucchini Boats

Use up all the zucchini from the garden with these easy BBQ chicken boats. Use leftover grilled chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken for quick prep. 

 Healthy Burger Bowls

These healthy burger bowls combine all the flavors of a classic burger in a low-carb, easy-to-prepare bowl. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and easily customizable for everyone to enjoy!

Chicken Salad Wraps

Forget every boring chicken salad you’ve ever eaten because this Chipotle Chicken Salad sets the flavor bar, bringing bold flavors thanks to Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mayo.

Lazy Summer Pasta Dishes

Lazy Summer Pasta Dishes: A Lazy Cook’s Best Friend.

The heat of summer can make cooking a meal seem like the last thing you want to do. But if you’re craving something fresh and satisfying, pasta dishes are a lazy cook’s best friend! They take less than 30 minutes from stove-top to plate, and they taste delicious no matter what ingredients you use – as long as they’re delicious for YOU. We’ve gathered some of our favorite easy summer recipes that will help you make the most of this warm weather season.

Lemony Olive Tortellini:

Try this delicious and flavorful tortellini dinner recipe! It’s coated in a skillet with lemon juice, garlic basil leaves. Plus olive oil for an extra layer on top that’ll keep you coming back again and again

Summer Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Feta

This delicious Summer Orzo Salad is the perfect side dish for your next backyard party or pasta salad to serve with lunch. It’s also great as a vegan option when you want something healthy, tasty and satisfying that won’t break up any diet rules!

Easy Veggie Pasta Salad

This fresh and healthy salad is the perfect lunch for any time of year! Made with gluten-free vegetable pasta, it’s full of flavor thanks to a lemon herb vinaigrette. 

Summer Tagliolini

The light summer tagliolini pasta recipe from a restaurant in Bologna, Italy is really tasty and fresh! And can be thrown together in minutes! It’s light, refreshing and a winner on a hot summer night.

Other Lazy Summer Dinner Ideas

There are a few reasons why no cook dinners are a great idea during the summer. First of all, it’s hot outside and the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or stove. Second of all, cooking can add to the already high temperature in your house, and nobody wants to be stuck in a hot kitchen. And finally, who doesn’t love spending less time in the kitchen? With these easy and delicious no-cook summer recipes, you can enjoy delicious and satisfying meals without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

Salmon Sushi Bowls

Imagine your favorite sushi restaurant but in a bowl. That’s what Sushi Bowls are! They’re like any other deconstructed roll- just smaller and easier to eat on the go or when you don’t feel like leaving home–you can even make them at home with ingredients that will fit into one small dish.

Any Emily Mariko fans here? (She’s a tik tok creator who famously makes salmon bowls with rice, seaweed, and all the fixings of the inside o fa sushi roll).

Vegan Charcuterie Board

The perfect party appetizer is here! This epic vegan charcuterie board will be the hit of any get-together. With dairy-free cheese, tasty plant-based meats and bread made just for this occasion you’ll have everyone excited about their next bite.”

Greek Veggie Tacos

Healthy, tasty Greek veggie tacos that are quick and easy to make for lunch or dinner. Plus, this is one of those unique gift ideas for dad because if he already has everything, maybe he doesn’t have a delicious taco right now. 🙂

Cold cucumber soup

The amazing, healthful benefits of cucumbers are just starting to be discovered. This summer try this cold soup with greek yogurt and herbs for an answer that is sure not only cool your jets but also pack some serious nutrition into each sip!

Falafel plate

You cannot go wrong with a delicious falafel plate and homemade hummus. With the toppings of vegetables, olives, feta cheese in addition to pita bread, it is easy for any appetite! Pair this dish off by having some mezze platters so that your Middle Eastern food cravings are satisfied fast. You will be able to enjoy fresh ingredients cooked right before you after school or on days when cooking isn’t an option.

Mexican Ceviche  

Ceviche is a dish that’s enjoyed throughout Mexico and the rest of Latin America. It typically consists mainly of fresh fish mixed with lime juice, onions tomatoes, or Serrano peppers for heat which gives this refreshing seafood cocktail plenty of flavors while being light enough not to ruin your appetite for other dishes, or to keep you eating lightly all summer long!

Homemade Chirashi Sushi Bowl

Serve up cold sliced veggies and leftover meat, seafood or eggs on top of rice for an easy-to-customize cool meal.

Easy Quicky Creme de Menthe Parfait

Fun, swirled-green creme de menthe parfait is perfect for easy summer party desserts or a fun dinner get together! Done in only 7-minutes, this boozy dessert will look incredibly fancy and fun to look at! 

Summer is a time for easy and relaxing dinners that don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. These recipes, from easy pasta salads to vegan charcuterie boards, provide plenty of delicious and satisfying options for lazy summer nights.

Grocery list | What The Fuck Do We Need at the Grocery Store? A Checklist


In summary, and if you just feel like this entire post is a TLDR, Here are some easy and refreshing lazy dinners to make when it’s hotter than a jalapeño in a sauna. Get ready to keep your cool in the kitchen (or rather, out of it) with these chill ideas:

Gazpacho: Beat the heat with this ridiculously refreshing chilled tomato soup. Blend together ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and some zesty seasonings. Pop it in the fridge to chill, and voila! Serve it up with a side of crusty bread, ’cause you gotta soak up that slurpable goodness.

Caprese Salad: Get fancy without breaking a sweat. Layer up some juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves on a plate. Drizzle ’em with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and boom! You’ve got a masterpiece in minutes.

Cold Pasta Salad: Who needs a hot stove when you’ve got a cool bowl of pasta goodness? Cook your fave pasta, let it cool like your attitude, then toss it with chopped veggies like crisp cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and some tangy olives. Don’t forget to throw in some feta cheese, herbs, and a light vinaigrette dressing. No sweat, all flavor.

Wraps or Sandwiches: Keep it simple and scrumptious. Grab your favorite fillings like deli meats, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and crunchy cukes. Slap ’em between tortillas or bread slices, and you’ve got a handheld masterpiece that requires zero cooking skills. Wrap it up and chow down, my friend.

Sushi Bowls: Get your sushi fix without the sweat. Whip up a quick sushi bowl by combining cooked sushi rice with sliced raw fish (if you can get your hands on the good stuff) or cooked shrimp. Toss in diced avocado, cucumber, and a hint of pickled ginger. Add a drizzle of soy sauce or a dollop of spicy mayo sauce, and you’ve got a bowl that’s cooler than a cucumber in shades.

Chilled Noodle Salad: Cool down with a hip noodle salad. Cook noodles like soba or rice noodles, rinse ’em in cold water, and toss ’em with shredded veggies like carrots, bell peppers, and snap peas. Give it a tangy twist with a dressing made from soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, and a touch of honey. Dig in and let those cool noodle vibes wash over you.

Fruit and Cheese Plate: Keep it simple, sweet, and sophisticated. Artfully arrange a platter of fresh fruits like melons, berries, grapes, and slices of heavenly peaches or mangoes. Pair ’em with your favorite cheeses, toss in some crackers or bread, and feel like the queen or king of summertime snacking.

Tuna or Chicken Salad: Ain’t nobody got time for slaving over a hot stove. Mix up some canned tuna or shredded chicken with mayo, diced celery, and feisty red onion. Season it to your liking and serve it on a bed of lettuce or slap it between two slices of bread. Quick, easy, and so much tastier than sweating over a pot of boiling water.

Quesadillas: Assemble your trusty quesadillas with ooey-gooey cheese, sliced tomatoes, onions, and any other fillings that tickle your taste buds. Sizzle ’em in a skillet or toss ’em on the grill ’til that cheese melts into a gooey heaven. Serve ’em up with salsa, guac, or sour cream.

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy meal or something more elaborate, there’s something here for everyone – even the laziest summer lounger among us.

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